Web-based course for Customs now available on the CITES Virtual College

An updated and improved version of the course on Introduction to CITES for Customs is now available through the CITES Virtual College (https://cites.unia.es/) in English, French and Spanish. This course is open to Customs officials, CITES authorities and persons involved in work related to CITES.

Specifically designed to assist Customs officials to identify and process specimens of CITES-listed species, the course offers modules on CITES information resources and identification materials, use of the CITES Appendices and Checklist, and practical information on how to verify CITES permits and certificates. It also provides Customs officials with advice on dealing with confiscated specimens, and health and safety issues.

A number of interactive quizzes and exercises are also provided to improve understanding of the Convention and to assist Customs officials in identifying specimens of CITES species and fraudulent documentation. Reading materials are suggested throughout each module, so that users of the course can learn more about topics of special interest.

In the “Training Centre” of the College (https://cites.unia.es/cites/mod/resource/view.php?id=58), a number of "train the trainer" presentations in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish are available for use by Customs officials, CITES authorities and others, including presentations developed in support of the Green Customs Initiative (http://www.greencustoms.org/).

The CITES Secretary-General, Mr John E. Scanlon, said: "The CITES Secretariat encourages Customs officials to make full use of the course and invites comments and feedback to assist with its further development and possible improvements."

The Secretariat is grateful to the European Commission for its financial support, which has made possible the development of a Web version of the course, and to the International University of Andalusia for hosting the CITES Virtual College. The course is based on the one originally published on CD-ROM with the support of Canada.